Of all the possible worlds that God could have made, this is the one He loved.
We have to think theoretically about things like this, of course. But that’s ok. Jesus spoke hypothetically about the salvation and judgment of Sodom: “If these works had been done there, they would have repented.” But those works were not done there and they did not repent.
“For God so loved the world.”
He so loved this world. Because He loved THIS world, He made it and redeemed it.
Why didn’t He make a world where we would all have 3 eyes? Why didn’t He make a world with a green sky and blue grass? Why didn’t He make a world without the possibility of failure, and problems, and pain?
It seems simple enough to us. He could have chosen NOT to make Lucifer. He could have chosen NOT to plant The Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. He could have chosen to make Adam and Eve without the use of rules, regulations, stipulations, threats, and limitations.
But wait, could He have done any of these things?
Can God really do anything other than what He does? Could He be anything other than what He is? No. Could He in any way have done anything in any other way than in the way He has done it?
It is my claim that actually God can only do what is best. This doesn’t seem far fetched at all. It is intuitively obvious. If there was a better way to do something, then He would do it that way instead of any other way. Nobody can ever justly criticize or correct the Almighty. And it’s not just because He’s in charge, it’s because He is infinitely wise and perfect.
So, what we have to look for is the reasons behind the world existing as it does.
We can avoid the question with an authoritarian answer: “Because God said so.” Which is true. But we do not contradict, question, or endanger His Sovereignty by inquiring concerning His reasons.
The world He has made is wonderful in so many ways. However, it is also a world with many, many problems.
It can be argued that He made the world perfect, the problem is that we have messed it up. Which is true. But hypothetically He could have made it in such a way that it could not have been messed up no matter what. So why did He make our would susceptible to failure?
Again, we have to conclude that this is the best world He could make. We have to deduce that a world that could not include failure would not be as good as the one we’ve got. But why?
In its simplest terms, the answer is love. Inextricably tied to love is freedom. It takes free will for love to have any real meaning at all. Robots and theoretical automatons are (or would be) incapable of true freedom and therefor incapable of love. Perhaps the motions of love could be imitated, but we know by instinct that it wouldn’t actually be love.
For love to be genuine, the lover must be able to chose not to love. Which is exactly what we find in our extant universe. God can and does choose to love some and ultimately to hate others. And in turn some of us chose to reciprocate His love, while others (most) chose to hate Him instead.
This good condition of mutual love must indeed be so noble; so good; such a high moral good that all collateral damage and senseless suffering is offset by that love. Not canceled out, mind you. The problems and pains of life are real. And those problems endure. They endure eternally. Throughout all eternity the fires of God’s wrath will be fueled by the souls of God’s mortal enemies. But eclipsing all of that horror will be the enduring love of God for His Son and for those who His Son has redeemed.
You may not like this. In a very significant way, God doesn’t like it either. We read in His Word that He is not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance. He knows that all will not come to repentance. His character and decrees demand that such be the case. Yet, His heart twists in agony over the destruction of the wicked. He takes no pleasure at all in their damnation.
“That’s no consolation for the damned,” you might offer. True enough. But we are wise to work with reality rather than with some nonexistent hypothetical world that we might imagine.
It’s a snide and snarky way to put it, but if a person doesn’t like the world God has made, all that is needed is for that wise sage to go make a world after the fashion of his or her own fancy.
To imagine that we are wiser or more generous than God is such an absurdity. I like to point out that we can’t even run our own lives well, what makes us think we are qualified to criticize how God runs the whole of creation?
This is not to simply scream, “You shut up and sit down.” It’s just a little lesson in humility. It’s a lesson we all need, myself included.
What we should do of course is to cooperate with the Spirit to maximize our expression of the purpose for which we were designed: to receive, return, and emanate God’s love. If there is something about the world that we don’t like, it may be that God is assigning us the responsibility of changing that thing.
I don’t like living in a world that is constantly filled with problems to fix and fences to mend. I want an easy and comfortable world where everyone cooperates with each other. Can’t we all just get along?
The answer is yes and no. Through the power and gifts of the Spirit in us, there are major changes that can be made to the status quo. On the other hand, as long as we live under Satan’s atmosphere (for he is currently the ruler of this world), new problems will keep cropping up. We pray, “Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” But even when God answers that prayer, tomorrow we will have to pray it again, because just as God’s mercies are new every morning, so too are Satan’s efforts to pollute everything God is doing.
Our biggest problem is when we play into the Devil’s hands instead of resisting his influence. Then our problems compound.
This side of heaven and the coming kingdom of heaven, we will never find a problem free existence. But we can certainly live in a way that minimizes self-created problems and in a way that empowers us to solve the problems that God has designed us to address. We also want to live in a manner that allows us to surrender to others the control of problems we aren’t equipped to solve. In this way, we will never have a life here without problems, but at least we will have solutions to go with our problems.